Celebrate Mother’s Day!

This Mother’s Day, create a gift that is truly impressionable and simply beautiful for mom with these delicate and personalized Mom Bracelets.

Choose from a selection of charming hand-selected Personality Beads, Genuine Swarovski Crystal Birthstones, Initial Charms and delicate Mom Roses, fashioned together to tell a small story just about her.

These bracelets can be customized exactly to your liking with your selection of both choice and quantity of these very special beads and charms.

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Each bracelet comes standard with tiny Barrel Crystals in either black or white, with your desired quantity of Year Rings and the Mom Rose of your choosing.

A year ring represents the number of years you have shared together with Mom and come in either Silver or Gold.

Each Mom Rose imparts the nature of motherhood and your relationship to the receiver. There is a rose to suit every Mom, whether that mother is your sister, your aunt, etc.

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The Kindred Mom Rose is a special chrome silver rose that betokens that extraordinary mom who is a friend, a mother that you admire, or an adoptive mother.

Swarovski Crystal Gemstones Click to enlarge
Personality Beads Click to enclarge

Taylor your bracelet with a Genuine Swarovski Crystal Birthstone and as many Initial Charms and Personality Beads you like.

Standard Mom Bracelets are $60.00 CD
Charms and Beads are $5 each.
Enhance your Round Swarovski
Birthstone to a premium Cube for $8

Contact Nina Spade at
inquiries@ninaspade.com 
– 416.894.3755
to order!

Get yours today before May 14th!
Happy Mother’s Day from Nina Spade Studio

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Spade on The Street – Free Pizza Mike, Pizza Critic

Okay, but seriously… who doesn’t love pizza?

I could divulge a load of romanticized sentiments about thin crusts, stringy melted cheese, pineapple vs. no pineapple, and it would be beautiful and mouth-watering, but let’s keep it simple and be sound in this unanimous understanding:

Pizza rocks. However you like to eat it.

The goal of Spade on The Street, as you all know of course, is to create a platform in which those who are living their passion can inspire and share with others what it means to live, love and do their schtick.

For Michael Robert Adams Brodie, A.K.A., Free Pizza Mike, that schtick is pizza!
As a lover of everything to do with this notorious baked-and-topped flatbread, founded in Naples, Italy, Mike is presently pursuing his dream of becoming ‘the most famous Pizza Critic on the face of the Universe’, as he puts it. As far as I am concerned, I believe he is well on his way to accomplishing this goal.

So far, his travels have lead him to enjoy pizza from:

  • Manhattan
  • Tokyo
  • Chicago
  • Vatican City
  • Barcelona
  • London

Currently, he is eating and enjoying pizza right here in Toronto, Canada. By channelling his enthusiasm and talents for drawing and cartooning, the world was introduced to Free Pizza Mike on Instagram. By utilizing a sketchbook, tech pens, 128 pencil crayons and a phone with a camera, his account relays daily doses of humour and hunger alike though meditative pizza doodles, pet cats, pizza puns and of course, Mike’s personal critique of the city’s best pizza. Mike has also created a similar and noble project of his own, entitled Home Town Heros (seen on Instagram), where he barters his wonderful drawing skills in an effort to support the entrepreneurial community and generate cross promotion.

Mike and I were lucky to spend two afternoon at Maker Pizza, enjoying a scrumptious pepperoni pie during our first visit, and then probably the best chicken pizza I’ve ever eaten during our second visit (I’m not kidding, we were both very much impressed). Piping hot goodness only added to the pleasure of hearing about his upcoming endeavours within the pizza critic realm, including a charity fundraising event to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, which will be launched at the end of April 2017. As per protocol, I created for him a collection of cool bracelets in exchange for my very own Free Pizza Mike cartoon portrait and mech adventure doodle, which are both presently on display in my jewellery studio.

In his downtime when he is not eating pizza, he enjoys classic pastimes and indulgences such as high school rugby (“Go TROJANS!”), Super Mario Kart for Super Nintendo, Kelly Gruber and the 92′ Toronto Blue Jays, Weezer – Blue and Pink Album, The Lion King, Season 8 of the Simpsons (I have to whole-heartedly agree with him on this one. BEST season, for sure), hot yoga and running very fun Marathons.

Oh… and in case you’re wondering what kind of pizza his favorite is?
It’s plain cheese.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about your craft?

FPM: Easy, eating pizza.

After that it would be eating pizza with friends.  Being the world’s most famous pizza critic can get pretty lonely.  I’m lucky enough to have super big group of friends who always wanna grab a slice.

I got a good friend in Frank Furlano a.k.a. Frank the Pizza Tank.  Frank’s a 20 year old Video Game lover who has Muscular Dystrophy.  We got a pretty good mission statement going –  “Frank the Pizza Tank and his side kick Free Pizza Mike are two Internet celebrities bustin’ bad guys for a chance to have a slice of pizza with Selena Gomez.”  It’s gonna be fun.

I’m looking forward to discovering all the ways we can use pizza to save the world.  This month we’re holding THE LOCAL PIZZA PARTY.  A charity event raising money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.   I’m collaborating with Lululemon, yeahhhaa it’s gonna be off the hook.  We are gettin’ all the fun celebrities to come.  CFL Players, The National Ballet of Canada, tons of Toronto Fashion designers and Video Game Makers.  Also there will be pizza.

Sorry I was rambling.  Did I even answer the question?  Ummmmmmm……Pizza, Friends, Laughter, Fighting Evil and Charity.  Ya, that’s the most rewarding part of my job.  Boom.

MIX’D by Nina Spade

So I am certain that many of you have been curious about the new label that I’ve branded on many of the new jewellery designs. Well, consider this my formal introduction to it.

When autumn arrived in 2016, I admittingly experienced, for the first time in my life, my first run-in with the infamous Creator’s Block. And it could not have come at a worse time—during the beginning stages of a new and exciting idea I had for a jewellery line. This is the reason for the Nina Spade dry spell of late 2016, and it brought with it a depression that was invisible to others, but very present within myself. I’m pleased to say that I am vanquishing this block with self-determination, self-love, a lot of meditation, a lot of support, and many hours forcing myself to just keep creating, no matter how much I hated what I was ending up with, because eventually the flow would materialized.  Everything is still in a very raw and elementary stage of composition and inspiration, but as an artist, this is one of my most favourite stages to be in, because with persistence and passion, only growth can follow. I can’t wait to see where it all leads.mixd2

As summer dwindled, I found myself reflecting on my skills, and what I have produced over the past 14 years. What I had concluded was that my versatility as a designer was my greatest strength, and as much as it might sound like aptitude and dexterity gives someone a lot to work with, it begins to feel stagnant after a while IF it is the only thing you are doing. How lucky am I to be able to accommodate and create jewellery for just about any personality, age, psyche, unique taste, creative preference, special occasion, etc. That’s huge. But as an artist, that isn’t enough for me.  I still wanted to be able to provide my vision and creations to clientele looking for something custom and something exclusive, while also designing pieces that reverberated, related to, and represented an entire faction. Exclusiveness is noble, but it was time for me to begin thinking about creating pieces that were inclusive.

This is precisely when I came up with my new jewellery line, MIX’D.

What it is? What makes it unique? Well, each piece of jewellery I make for this line has been hand-crafted intentionally with an unconventional and exciting mingling of materials. This line was designed specifically for women, being that my largest clientele demographic are women. The objective of each design is to resonate the same multifaceted spirit of all woman, rather that articulate just one kind of personality. This line is inclusive because each design contains the pervasive psyche of all women.

Different materials translate the many different idiosyncrasies of being female; Basic and modest mediums such as resin, plastic, basic metals, etc., impart the side of a woman that should also be celebrated (incomplex, plain, and dare I even say threadbare), and is just as real and authentic as any other side. Even Iris Apfel isn’t decked out 24 hours of the day. And to keep up with trying to look put together or like you have all together ALL the time can be incredibly exhausting and inauthentic. But at the same time, this is just a facet of who we are. We are both ‘frumpy AND fantastically fabulous’.
mixd3
This is what I am trying to convey when I add things like pewter to a piece that also has Aquamarines and Sparkling Swarovski. There is little about ‘cheap’ materials that make them refined, and they are considered, for the most part, shabby and less valuable in comparison to things like gems and gold. By marrying them with more refined components, each piece possesses the same complexity women share. Their value immediately increases. Their simplicity is beautified. And like a women, the design possesses the same authenticity as its wearer.

Gemstones, wood, pearls… natural beads express a woman’s natural and organic being. Genuine Swarovski Crystal and glass and precious metals conveys elegance, refinement,
and beauty. Compounding and incorporating all these elements together signifies the miscelaneousness, intricacy… and wonderment of women and all her sides.

THIS was what manifested from my desire to create inclusive jewellery. I NEEDED to create a line that spoke to literally everyone; a 40-year-old powerhouse career mogul; a 16-year-old ingénue, exploring her methods of self-expression; a mother of 4; someone like you; someone like me. There is a lot of myself in these designs, specifically. That is due to just how passionate I feel about themmixd1, and that energy is absorbed into every pin, bead, charm, and clasp I use.

I look forward to continuing to create pieces that make people feel special, and make them feel more like themselves. We all want to be understood. We all want to express ourselves effectively. And we also want to feel that the sides of ourselves we are most critical of are not only just a part of who we are, but also a park of what makes us awesome.

Keep on the look-out for more designs from my MIX’D by Nina Spade line, and remember to celebrate your authentic self and every side of it, because we are all a mix of magic, mystery, and magnificent… whether confident in 4 inch heels or in sweatpants with Creator’s Block.

 

Spade On The Street – Style & Beauty Blogger, Mikayla Kuehn

The warm sunshine, melted snow, and green leaves are fast approaching, and what better way to honour it all… by posting 2017’s very first Spade on The Street.

This time of year sure has a way of inflating that longing for days spent on hot beaches, enjoying cold drinks, bright colours, and enjoying the company of others. Days very similar to my afternoon spent with and getting to know, one-on-one, Style and Beauty Blogger, Mikayla Ann Kuehn. A Coburg Ontario native, Mikayla’s blog, MAK Style, jumped out at me one day after seeing a photo of her sporting a fresh set of Nail Kandy nail art, which compelled me to further explore and discover her fashion expertise.

Along with a bracing introductory, her blog offers an extensive array of style, lifestyle and product knowledge, and exciting discoveries within the make-up and cosmetic realm. A personal favourite of mine is her love of nail art, which she dotingly shares through her Current Claws blog sphere. Her social media platforms can be found through Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook. And being that she has a deep love for the colour pink, her subscribers can take part in the MAK Style community through her hashtag, #thepinklife.

Meeting up on a beautiful day in one of Toronto’s most prominent neighbourhoods within the fashion community, Yorkville is abuzz with life as patrons shop, enjoy the bright sunlight, and savour delicious ice cream

Mikayla is statuesque in a blazing satin Magenta skirt as she sits, poised and smiling with me amidst the surrounding urban foliage. She shares with me her passion for her Fashion Marketing program with the Toronto Film School, which she will graduate next month from.

Graduating in 2014 from highschool, she spent the following year refining her portfolio, and is pleased to find everything she has ever wanted in a post-secondary course licensed to the Fashion Marketing industry. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, her hopes are to one day assume the role of a senior creative director or even owning her own company, all the while mastering her talents with marketing through social media.

Thank you Mikayla for your contribution to Spade on The Street, and looking forward to watching your success, evolution, and revolution within The Pink Life!

 

Q:What is the most rewarding thing about your craft?

MK: I would have to say that the freedom of self-expression through my blog and sharing my content with the world as an influencer is the most rewarding part of what I do!

I have always been super creative, and had a love for fashion and beauty. Growing up, I was very much a girly-girl and experimented with my makeup and clothing choices on a daily basis. I also liked other things such as photography and writing, so incorporating all of those things together – I created my own blog! I can be my own boss and make my own posting schedules, what I want to write about, what I will wear… and I love having all of that control and creative freedom!

It is also rewarding to be able to work with brands I love and test out items and share my thoughts and opinions with my readers. I am able to help people make purchasing decisions easier and inspire their own personal style. I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and explore the fashion industry through this platform I have made for myself!

 

Home Town Heros with Free Pizza Mike

A grand, glorious, and gigantic package of gratitude and good vibes goes out to @freepizzamike for a wonderful #HomeTownHeros session at @makerpizza where we exchanged hillarious and awesome art for in-house custom-made bracelets, ate an ooowy-goowy pepperoni pie, and got his photos all fired up for his upcoming #SpadeOnTheStreet segment!

Home Town Heros feature can be found here!

I traded some funky, rustic (rustico? *chuckles*) bracelets for some SWEEEET art!

Keep your eyes peeled for Mike’s upcoming segment and check out his Insta for my instalation of Home Town Heros, Meditative Pizza Doodles, and his critiques on some of the city’s best pizza!

Spade On The Street – Jaclyn Forbes, Much Creator & Lifestyle Vlogger

Tripod in tow, camera bag in hand, handmade jewellery all gift-wrapped, and umbrella sandwiched between my teeth, I’m racing down St. Patrick on foot, and I’m late. After breaking through what felt like a flock of OPP officers casually blocking my path as I zoomed down the sidewalk—smashed into, yelling ‘thank you!’ (!?) as I passed—I eventually reach Queen, slowing my legs down to a brisk pace. It’s June, and I’m approaching Much Headquarters. The usual faction of ink-clad skin, plaid, band tshits, and Kensington market 3-for-15 shades part partially as I walk towards the building with that tell-tale CP24 truck bursting out the bricks in the loading yard, wheels still rotating and body paint rusting away. My eyes eventually land on the riveting woman who is waiting for my arrival just outside the front doors; my Spade on the Street focus of the day, the multi-talented Lifestyle Vlogger and Much Creator, Miss Jaclyn Forbes.

She’s casually and genuinely brushing off my tardiness (try waiting behind someone trying to turn right onto College and then Dundas from University, I don’t know why I didn’t just drive in the middle lane) as we enter the building, and signs me in at the front desk. Fresh-faced, relaxed, and with effortless good posture, she’s cool and excited and fluent in wit, and I adore her even more in those past 7 or 8 minutes of talking and getting to know her better. We are eventually greeted by Alyssa Petru of Much Digital Studios, and she leads the way upstairs to the Fishbowl (which has impeccable lighting, I might add. You can’t blame me for being excited about that, I am a cliché with a DSLR).

Jaclyn has been involved with Much as a Creator since 2014, heading forward with ease and strength that is carried by her natural charm and amiable essence. She is also best known for her dedication to her riveting, educational, and incredibly fun Youtube Channel, encompassing her love of make-up, pop-culture, and delicious vegan delights, amassing over 24,000 subscribers, and more than 860,000 combined views in ONE YEAR… a testament to her entertaining nature. Her videos feature things that she loves, to make-up and fashion tutorials for your go-to musical festival look, and more.

In June, you could catch her and other Much Creators (AND… former Spade on the Street segment feature, Toronto Photographer, Nick Wons) on the red carpet at this year’s 2016 iHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards, welcoming the likes of Gigi Hadid, Alessia Cara, Tegan and Sarah, Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes, and more.

As we settle into the Fishbowl, she finally opens her jewellery goodies, revealing her custom-requested Peach Glass Choker (part of her Bestival 2016 look, and also featured in her June 2016 Favorites Video), as well as a special Quartz & Labradorite necklace that caught her eye. It’s not surprising she has great taste.

The fishbowl is sweltering for me in the heat of summer, and I down a bottle of water while the camera is snapping. Jaclyn doesn’t have a bead of sweat on her. Cool to the bone.

She is a natural infront of the camera, which only further confirms what I suspect to be an ever-growing and successful career in her future. It was such a delight to get to know her. Keep on the look-out for her as she continues to create a platform for herself as one of Toronto’s leading faces in pop-culture and beauty, whether though Much or though Youtube. All the best of luck to you, Jaclyn, and thank you for your contribution to Spade on the Street. Enjoy the jewels!!

 


Q:
 What is the most rewarding thing about your craft?

JF: There are so many different rewarding parts about what I do. Of course, there are those self-motivating, everyday rewards, like when I finish editing a video that I’ve worked really hard on, or finishing filming a dream video (like when I filmed the 5 Second Challenge video with Hailey Baldwin and Tyler Posey- it was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments), but I think the most rewarding part of my craft is interacting with viewers and hearing their stories. No matter what aspect of my video making process I’m working on, ultimately I’m always thinking about my viewers.

Whenever I upload a video, and it gets to the part where it says “99% uploaded”, I still get these little butterflies in my stomach from excitement. I am always so eager to share my content with my subscribers and I can’t wait to read their comments. Ultimately, what I do wouldn’t be possible without my viewers. It’s definitely a two way street!! I think one of the best parts about YouTube is the comments section and the sense of community it creates. I love hearing feedback or having discussions with everyone on there. I think YouTube is a platform that really relies on that. To go even further, of course, interacting online with people who watch my videos is great, but meeting those people in real life is one of the best feelings.

The most exciting part of what I do is meeting those people and hearing their stories or how my videos have inspired them. It’s so rewarding to hear that what I’m doing and that the videos I’m creating are having an impact on the people around me – or maybe not even around me for that matter! It always blows my mind when I read comments from viewers saying that they’re from a country half way across the world. The reach you have with YouTube is limitless, and to think that someone, who in some cases might not even speak the same language as me, are watching my videos is extremely humbling. To think that these are real people, not just usernames or faceless accounts, is insane to me.

I think that sometimes it can be easy to forget that each user I’m interacting with or replying to in the comment section are real people. It sounds silly, but it’s true. Most of my interaction happens online, which is awesome, but it really is something else when you finally meet that username face to face. It’s surreal, honestly. I’ve said it since the beginning of this journey, if my videos can make at least one person smile, or spark an interest in someone or even just entertain someone and allow them to take their mind off something, then it’s all worth it. Knowing that what I create is influencing someone else’s life positively is the most rewarding thing.

Jaclyn Forbes:
Instagram
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Spade On The Street – Alberto Jossue, Toronto-Based DJ/Producer

We can all think of someone—or several someones—who we know that no matter the circumstances of our lives, whether up or down, these people just make you feel fantastic. Not to mention, they have this effect on others. Many others. Gosh, there’s just something innately magnetising about them, and they occupy the right chemical make-up that makes for a human being that makes you laugh, make you think, makes you feel good, and makes you want to have fun. And what is having fun without a soundtrack to go along with it? Yeah, not as much fun.

It isn’t an uncommon practice; I (like more people) bond effortlessly with people who enjoy, listen to, play, and share good music. It’s the focus of this Spade on the Street segment that I have for you all today.

Toronto is notoriously prominent for its outstanding contributions, innovation, export, creation, and expression of music. Renowned for our concerts, annual festivals (everything from NXNE, Camp Wavelength, Turf, The Jazz Festival, and Digital Dreams to name a few), and with a long long list of music venues, the talent emerging and established in T.O. are second to none. A person who is very much a part of this emerging talent is our focus of today’s feature, DJ/Producer Alberto Jossue.

Born in Lima, Peru, he spent some time living in the U.S., to which he eventually settled in Toronto. For as long as I have known him, music has been in the forefront of everything that motivates, inspires, and move him, and he is described as a “master storyteller in his musical compilations” while currently holding residencies with his personal project White Label Promo, as well as NEST Toronto, Cabal Toronto, Spark, Secret Society and Summerdaze. His first EP Moon Dance on 3XA Music cracked the top 20 progressive releases on Beatport earlier this year, and it’s success has propelled him into becoming one of Toronto’s top House and Techno DJs/Producers. Watching this journey unfold for him has been remarkably impressive and exciting, with upcoming performance by him at Senseless Music Experience at the Evergreen Brickworks, and Electric Island, both here in Toronto.

Alberto and I got to hang out last month around the 15th for his session, and as per usually, MAN, what a delight the day was. Alberto and I have been friends for nearly 10 years now, having shared many a Puckish adventure, with my favourites always involving music, be it a discussion, a jam with keys and a guitar, a night out dancing, a documentary (Hendrix was a favourite), or a listening session. After his interview, which was carried out with the suspension of his own chromatic and mind-bending beats playing with liquid flow in the background, he insists we listen to Moon Shaped Pool, the latest album by Radiohead, a huge favourite of his. I had not heard the whole thing yet, and he jumps right into the one song they have only ever played live, and never released until now, called “True Love Waits”. Rather than an acoustic love ballad, Thom Yorke’s voice floats over lucid and light piano that overlaps like river splashes, sunk down deep at times, and standing every hair on your arms straight up when you also rationalise the beauty that this 2 decade-old song has been given. I spent the week after weeping heavy, wet tears everytime I listened to it. It is the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. Anyway, this listening session was followed by good laughs, a hearty lunch and pint at Otto’s Berlin Doner, to which it wrapped up with some stellar photos.

Upon arrival howbeit, earlier in the day, we found ourselves sitting down in his studio, as he simultaneously answers phone calls, eats a yogurt and fruit, and burns a piece of smudge-like wood from Peru, filling the room with loamy, medicinal smoke to clear out the bad juju, all the while polishing up a collaboration project on his laptop.  His beats are going, we get to interviewing, and he wastes no time morphing into ‘master story teller’:

 

NS – What inspired you to want to get into music?

AJ – See there’s different parts… different events that come to mind… first event would have been the discovery of guitar, which stemmed from my family. One of my aunts who raised me, saw my curiosity with my dad’s guitar, which I was not allowed to touch. And she was the one who introduced me to it, so we did three cords, and that changed my life. Then, once I lived in Canada shortly after that, I remember vividly discovering Green Day and Nirvana and more punk-grunge-geared rock bands, while in elementary school, and translating those three cords that I knew. Between that moment, and Canada, there was a time where I was still into other stuff like surfing, sports, hanging out with my friends, getting into trouble, but those three cords came into play again when I discovered that type of music with that sort of passionate angst that I was feeling at the time. And I figured out that those three cords were essentially the three most used cords in that type of music.

I began to figure out how to play those punk cords on my own. And as soon as I started to realise that I could play the music that I was listening to, it became an obsession to learn all of my favourite music. For 5 more years after that I went back to Peru, and I made a whole bunch of friend in my neighbourhood when I was living back there again, and a lot of them played guitar, that had a lot more experience than me, and that’s when I discovered playing with people. We got together and made a list of all those classic, amazing tracks like Nothing Else Matter — Metalica, Starway to Heaven — Led Zeplin, Hotel California – The Eagles, you know those epic, epic guitar jams, and we locked ourselves up for an entire summer to learn them. And we learned them from top to bottom. That was one of the most prideful moments for me, where I said to myself, this is it. This is what making music feels like, minus the ‘coming-up-with’ part so those are the three things that sparked my desire to perform… playing those songs with my friends while drinking at the park. Translate that into DJing, and it’s literally the same thing. I am performing other people’s music with my twist for my friends, but this time in a way bigger venue, and with a lot more friends.

 

Figuring out what career path you want to pursue in life, more often than not, can be somewhat of a challenge. We look at our situation and do our best to take the necessary steps in order to walk down the road towards our career goals. Naturally, obstacles can sometimes get in the way, but with your goal in mind, you push on and take a different road. Alberto went on to discuss having to shift your mindset, remain dedicated to what you believe, and how it began with his enrolment with the Toronto Institute of Technology.

 

AJ – I did audio engineering there. I figured I would try to make a career out of that. I was never really interested in school. I was good at things, but I was lucky enough to know who I was was when I was very young, and knew I would be miserable if I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I live my life doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, because I only have right now. That could get you into a lot of trouble. You make a lot of mistakes in life, but those mistakes are great because you did things exactly how you wanted. Every time, all the time.

NS – You’re being integral to yourself

AJ – Yeah! I try to make the best out of my life. If I go and spend a day doing something I don’t want to do, I feel like I just wasted a day of my life, and when I’m on my deathbed, whenever that comes, that’s one more day I could have had. That’s the way I see it, that’s the philosophy.

 

He went on to talk about the struggles of trying to make it in such a competitive industry. Toronto is a place that oozes cool, and with all due respect to my hometown, it’s a blessing and a curse at times. Alberto shares what it means to try and find a beacon to stand within and get people to listen, especially in a city that is both beautifully and predictably equidistant in all that is modish and with-it. He goes on to discuss his involvement and his transitioning into DJing:

 

AJ – I began DJing seven years ago. You were there, through my learning days, I was finished audio engineering school, and ironically it was right in the boom of MP3s and uStreams, and so it destroyed the industry.

Every studio that I worked with, either went broke, shut down, or had gone completely bankrupt. So there were no jobs. So I had to work shitty jobs that I hated. But I had to pay my bills, and trying to find myself, since I couldn’t be an audio engineer, which is what I had envisioned. And so I said, “Well, back to artist it is!”. I was always a big fan of electronic music. I loved it. And I was always the guy getting into a car saying “Yo, check out this CD… listen to these 8 new tracks that I found that were amazing.”

NS – *Laughs* sounds familiar.

AL – *laughs* Right? So I was already DJing and I didn’t even know it. I’d get into a car and I’d say “Listen to this! Listen to this!” and that’s what inspired me to get everything started. It had to naturally come to you. If your subconscious and impulse is… as soon as you hear something amazing, and you want share that with someone, just to see a reaction and guess how it’s going to make a person feel, and to actually be satisfied from doing that, then you are naturally a DJ. The problem now a days is too many people have been looking at their TV and computer screens for the past 7 or 8 years and saying “That’s a cool thing to do!” “Oh, look at that guy, he’s the center of attention. He’s the party guy. All the girls want him. He’s travelling all over the place…” And that is what people are taking in, and developing the passion after seeing it done. Some don’t start with that passion, they sort of develop it later on, and at the same time, we get an influx of people who not organically attached to it. When we got started, and I’m talking about my generation, and the generations before us… there was no hype. There was no media, it wasn’t on TV, it wasn’t on the radio, it wasn’t on the internet, or Facebook. It was in a warehouse. It was in an underground club. It was, you had to hear about it, and then you had to be there, and nobody was filming it with their phone…

NS – You’re absolutely right, and there is a difference when people realise that.

AJ – I like to think I’m lucky enough to have been one of those guys who knew how turntables works, who went to raves since the age of 17… I’m listening to all of these different artists, I’m making CDs with 20 different genres of music on it, and they’re all great, and little by little, I started this. That’s what drove me into it.

 

So, our conclusion and the continuation of his perspective on the industry was upon us at this time, and a candid and simple transition of thought and feeling rounded down to this:

 

NS – What is most rewarding about your craft?

AJ – To be honest… the most rewarding things is I get to do what I want to do. And I’m not spending my days wondering who I’m going to be. I know who I am. I think that’s the most rewarding thing for me personally. Professionally, I get to push good music. Whether it’s an undiscovered artist or someone huge, I have an audience now of people who I can introduce to an alternative to, in contrast to the hollow things that they’re being presented by the media, by radio, and by everyone. DJs are musical freedom fighters. We’re fighting a machine that we can’t possibly beat. You know… *laughs* I’m trying to stay away from classifying genres and specific artists. I don’t want to say negative things about certain artists, but it’s a fight! It really is!

We look at a city like Toronto… Toronto is a very trendy city. It’s amazing because, it’s got everything in it, but it’s very trendy. Toronto loves whatever’s hot. But what I feel as a Torontonian myself… I’ve been here for 14 years, I consider myself a Torontonian… is there is a lot of stuff that’s hard! Right now, we’re on the center of the map. Toronto’s like “WOAH”… We got Drake, we got The Weeknd, it’s like wow, this is crazy, you know what I mean? But there is just so much more. There is so much music coming out of this city, let alone all over the world… there are artist that somehow are still sitting in their rooms like I am right now with my studio gear, and they’re making noise, and they need that push. That’s the DJ’s responsibility. I find that what is rewarding to me as a DJ is I get to help those artists that deserve the break. We walk into a room and we get to decide what these 600 or 100 or 8000 people get to listen to. They’re there for a memorable night. They’re paying money hoping to have a great story the next day to take with them, and I get to put the soundtrack to that. Let’s face it; your best party days are your best memories. So, you get to give them the soundtrack to that time, and you get to chose what artists get that honour. That’s huge. That’s a huge responsibility and it’s so rewarding. It happens every time, where someone goes up to the booth and goes “What is that??” “Dude, what are you doing to me??” “What are you playing???” and you say “Oh, you know it’s A, B, and C from some basement in Switzerland, and he needs your help so buy his fucking records.” And now you’ve just created a fan for someone else’s records. They might have never made the connection if the DJ wasn’t there.

Last but not lease, the last reward is just to where your from. Your city. You’re contributing culturally. I like to think that my music evokes feeling, evokes spirit, it makes you smile, it makes you close your eyes and enjoy life. It makes you forget about your problems. If we DJs do that for people who are coming every weekend to hear us, we are contributing to the growth of our communities and to our culture. A person goes on with their day after being inspired by what they hear at that show, or the podcast they just listened to. And now they’re spreading that positivity and that good feeling to other people. They’re being happy. That’s huge.

That’s what all does it for me. I gave you a loaded answer, but it was a loaded question.

Spade On The Street – Tom Archer, International Travel & Wedding Photographer

What would seeing the world mean to you if you could see it all?

What if there were no limitations to the places you could go? The adventures you could have? The people you could meet? The things you could see? If you could climb the tallest mountains, or visit some of the harshest landscapes… how would it change you? How would it shape you? How would it shape your view of the world? They say that the greatest relationship you should ever have is with yourself, and in order for it to be fulfilling, you have to nourish it. What better way to do that then to broaden your horizons, and willingly partake in all the world has to offer. The reverence, and the respect that I have for anyone with integral, unadulterated wanderlust, is whole and unconditional. To those who make a career out of it… a living out of it… a lifestyle… you are inspirations to those who may perhaps feel obliged or stuck in their own routines and societal expectation. A spirit full of genuine adventure animates our own bravery and reminds people that nothing is impossible.

This special Spade on the Street piece is happy to highlight its first international submission. I feel honoured to feature in this latest segment yet another outstanding artist and friend within the realm of photography, Travel and Wedding Photographer, Tom Archer.

As per his penchants for traveling, I met Tom and his family almost ten years ago while vacationing in the Caribbean. Hopping on a plane and venturing off to far and distant destinations has been in his blood for as long as I have had the pleasure of knowing him.  Having grown up in a small village in Essex, UK (about 2 hours north of London) he showed a big interest in drawing from a very early age, eventually getting into photography in his early 20’s whilst travelling the world. He began a career as a Police Officer at the age of 21, and went on to do that for the next three years, eventually quitting in order to travel, spending 2.5 years away from home, further solidifying his passion for photography. That was 6 years ago, and he has been doing this ever since.

Like myself, Tom is self-taught in his craft, which I find singularly marvellous, as he is UNBELIEVEABLY talented. It truly does blow my mind what he does with a Nikon D810 and a Nikon D750, his favourite lenses being a 24 – 70mm f2.8, and 70 – 200mm.

Tom has created some of the most outstanding photography that I have ever seen. His wedding photography is, by far, the most romantic, magical, and transcendent images of love that truly do leave a person in awe. Incredibly, he has shot weddings on 5 different continents.

Check out all of Tom’s outstanding photos on Facebook, Instagram, and on his absolutely superb website.

I would also like to thank him and his equally talented girlfriend Julia for taking the liberty of shooting and submitting such wonderful photos for this very special segment, as traveling to the UK was, sadly, not an option for me at the moment. Nonetheless, I am grateful and excited for Tom’s globe-trotting inspiration. He has certainly planted many a seed. Let’s see how quickly they sprout.

 

Q – What is most rewarding about your craft?

TA – There are many things I love about photography and I could write an essay talking about them all. My main love though is capturing that moment in a freeze frame that will last forever. I think you get so caught up in moments (whether it be witnessing an amazing sunset or marrying the love of your life), that you don’t get the chance to stop and appreciate it. Photography freezes that moment and makes it last forever so you can go back and experience it again and again. Every time I see the smile on a bride and grooms face as they go through their wedding photos it makes me realise why I love what I do so much.

As you know I love to travel and shoot weddings all over. I think I have been to 78 countries now. I love to keep fit, I love to explore, to read, and to watch films. My room is full of books which I never have enough time to read! I taught myself photography and learnt from studying famous photographers’ work and by shadowing a couple of photographers at a couple of weddings. Oh, I have an obsession with ice cream too and eat way too much!

Collaboration with Toronto-Based Fashion Photographer, Katiuska Idrovo

A big Thank You to Katiuska Idrovo Photography for such a wonderful collaboration and submission to Issue 7 of Borealis Mag!

Follow Katiuska on Facebook & Instagram, or at katiuskaidrovo.com

Interested in a collaboration with Nina Spade Studio?
Send an email to inquiries@ninaspade.com!

Be sure to follow @ninaspade on INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, & GOOGLE+

Stay tuned for more coming soon, Nina Spade Studio Fans!

Spade On The Street- Nick Wons, Freelance Toronto Photographer

There is something to be said about trying to share a bit of a person’s story when that story is far too vast to narrow down. That something is, “It’s hard”. How does one try to encapsulate the magnitude of experience had by someone who has spent their every moment treading in an alloy of expedition and adventure? It is certainly not easy. Where do you begin, really?

Today, I’m here to introduce to you Freelance Toronto Photographer, Nick Wons.

If you live in Toronto and are part of one of its thousands of creative communities, you understand that the dynamic of these collectives are always very close knit, in the sense that everyone knows everyone, or knows someone who knows someone. Networking and creative comradery is something I find very special about this city. Emersion into the population of whatever niche you are involved in is to meet creative individuals of all walks of life. And more often than not, you cross paths with someone with such a profoundly grande, impactful, and unforgettable dynamism. If you know someone of this calibre, you know what their presence is like; step asides, all Alphas in the room, because the commander and chief has been designated.

Raw, open, pulsating… this person is like the lava stream you can’t peal your eyes from while watching from the solid rock bed that surrounds, catching the heat as they move. And if you know Nick, or have seen his work, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The dude’s blood is T.O+, therefore he encompass this rhythmical combination of Homespun Urban Animus, Gentleman Rapscallion, and a Wicked Sage Rudeboy. He’s hard to forget.

Our own meeting dates back to the beloved days of Loaded Fridays at Inside, Down One Lounge, and when Toronto Jungle was a Nina Spade staple. It takes a certain type of respected, genetic debauchery to keep up with it, and I’ve since understandably bowed out of the lucid scene aspect. Nonetheless, I will forever remain, at heart (and through my Sol Republic’s and bright orange bandanas), a ‘ginjie junglist’.

Nick gracefully and vociferously commands the Drum N Bass community here in Toronto, as well as frequents the Montreal scene, capturing titillating events on his DSLR, and charming comrades with his jocularity. With a sizeable creative projects and collaborations catalogue, he has experienced working with some of the City’s finest. The inventory can include the likes of TELEFILM Canada, TIFF, ETalk Canada, Montreal Gazette, Narcity Toronto, and more.  His talent has lead him to shoot the likes of Skrillex, Action Bronson, Bag of Trix Crew, and an extended list of celebrities, musicians, and performers, claiming to “feel at home” amidst the hustle and bustle of events, festivals, night clubs, and red carpet events. And for me to sit here and attempt to list his credentials is not possible. He has, successfully and masterfully, done so much.

One thing that I must certainly make mention of, is his magic on social media. Dubbing himself ‘The Puddle King’, Nick probes Toronto neighbourhoods, armed with his gear, to shoot the fabric of our City, having a particular fondness for puddles and reflections. His Instagram (@nwons) is a marvel that must be followed, as well as his additional social media on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out his photo collaborations with Eckhart Soul, ANSER, and Vice x Virtue.

I met up with Nick in late October to not only shoot his segment, but to also discuss what I feel is a true testament to his creative savvy and capability: His involvement with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s annual all-night celebration and multi-exhibition of art installations. Its exhibitors includes well-known, independent, local, and international artists, and our 2015 edition featured the likes of Inside Out Project artist, JR, having installed one of the top 5 featured exhibits of the evening. Nick was selected to shoot JR’s installation, and over a beer, and followed by a righteous meal at Barsa Taberna in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence district, we discussed precisely how he was able to land the gig.

And so, Spade On The Street’s first interview segment was born.

 

Nina – So tell me about the shoot you did for Nuit Blanche, how did everything unfold? How did you manage to get that gig?

Nick – First off, I hate heights. Absolutely hate heights. So I have been shooting for The City of Toronto for 5 years now. This year, JR was one of this year’s featured artists and so they gave us the option to choose, and I had missed the boat on asking who I wanted to shoot. I want to shoot JR, and they said well unfortunately, it has been filled, and I was like, uh! I love his work, I follow it all, they said okay, let’s see what we can do, maybe we can speak with the photographer, and try to switch it up. I was like, awesome. So, we go in for a briefing, and in my head, I pictured that they were going to do something there, at city hall, because if you ever look at JR’s work, it’s always shot from above, and it is always big scale. Initially, their plan was to project images that he had shot ONTO Nathan Phillip Square, so there was originally no wheat paste installation, so hearing that, it crushed my hopes and said, you know… I figured that there’s sure to be something cool I can get out there on social media. It wasn’t until the night before Nuit Blanche that… okay, I get on my social media, as always… get on my Instagram, Scotiabank is one of the people I follow, so I see them on my feed, and they post, “Getting Ready In Nathan Phillip Square.” And they show a photo of wheat paste being put down on the ground with people’s portraits that JR had been doing.

Nina – And that’s when you found out about the change in presentation.

Nick – Exactly. So I was like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’ I mean, this was 8 o’clock at night, the night before… city hall is closed. And I need to try and get in touch with the right person ASAP because I need to get access to shoot this from above, because I know the angle, and there’s the fact that they are using a wet liquid to apply these portraits of people onto the ground… If you’re lighting it from 360 degrees the way that they did, you’re not going to shoot a single image of the installation that won’t have light reflecting off and glaring in your face at some point in the photo. So I was like, okay… I need to go to the roof. I put together an email and I emailed the reps at City of Toronto and told them-

Nina – This is the night before?

Nick –  The night before, yes! So I said something like, I know that this is crazy last minute… at this point now, I think it might have even been 10pm the night before… knowing me… anyway, *laughs* so I said “We have got to get this shot. I just saw what Scotia Bank posted, this NEEDS to be documented from above, no ifs, ands, or buts.” They get back to me and mentioned shooting it from a window, but the windows have on them this… anti-bird-whacking material….

Nina – *laughs*

Nick – You know, that stuff on the windows, they’re like these little dots that are inches apart…

Nina – ‘Avian repellant’.

Nick- Yeah! So there’s no way you can shoot a photo through that window without getting at least one of these dots in your photo. I tell them again, this is the situation, this is what I need… I can’t be speaking to security, and they tell me I can only shoot this from a window. I CAN’T shoot this from a window, it NEEDS to be unobscured. I got a reply telling me they’d see what they can do. No promises, but we’ll see. And I said “Okay…. do what you can…. but at the end of the day? THIS is going to be the shot you want. And it will be the shot that, if you don’t get it, you’re never going to get it again, and you will regret that you never got it. And it’s always going to be one of those moments…”

Nina – Precisely.

Nick – I like to NOT have those moments in my life.

Nina – *laughs*

Nick – so at least I said something about it. My email was sent off to officials. We didn’t get a reply until 2 in the afternoon, day of Nuit Blanche. I needed to be on location, and shooting at 7pm. In 5 hours from then, I had to be at city hall, get up there, and shoot it. So the shot is taken at about 7:30-8:00 at night. And man, it was just so awesome. After I sent my final shot to them, I was like “and here you go”. I gave it to them that night, and said “I told you, it would be awesome.”

Nina – But it really was awesome.

Nick – Thank you. So that opened up to me asking them, “So, now that I’ve done this at night, can I shoot up there during the day?” And that is one really valuable thing that I have learned too, from this experience… you really don’t know what you can get away with until you ASK.

Nina – Absolutely. And that’s truly great advice.

Nick – Yeah, and I think that a lot of people are afraid to ask in many cases and it’s like, sure you can try to go about other ways of doing things, whether you’re exploring buildings or… I actually know somebody who’s a rooftop photographer in Toronto…. VERY controversial…. And instead of putting himself in a position where he could be charged with things like mischief, or a break-and-enter, he asks, you know? If you have a criminal charge on you, you can be indicted for anything in America, for instance, if you want to cross the border, and if you get a charge and you go to the states, they’ll say ‘we don’t want your kind here.” Anyway, so I ask, and I’ve got a lot of places that I have been permitted access too. I can’t talk about it right now, it’s confidential, but I got the permission to. I asked. They are high profile places that have been shot in the past, but the people who organize everything aren’t pleased with the shots that they have-

Nina – And they’re entrusting you to take new photos because they know you have the know-how, and know how good your work is.

Nick – I got a portfolio to show for it. I’m not just a dude with a camera. I’m actually a skilled professional who wants to come in and document it and make it worth your while.

 

Nina – One of the things that I was having a look at was other photographers from Toronto who are similar to the ones we’re talking about—rooftop-photographers. Those men and women who grab their cameras and scout the city for those perfect shots. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is there are similarities in their chosen locations. I do see a difference between your own style, and everyone else’s of course when you’re shooting the same locations. What do YOU think differentiates yourself from those who shoot like you, or maybe even mimic your method?

Nick – Hmm, interesting. Um. I mean, image wise, it’s tough to say. I don’t think there is much that differentiates me, other than it’s my personality. It’s my style and assets, you know. We have different editing techniques of course, I do try to look at things differently that the next guy… whether it’s my puddles, or my reflection shots, which is something I’ve really sort of become known for now. That’s the thing, it’s like it’s certainly my personality because I deal with clients and image wise… I get to tell MY story. I kind of share the way I see things and the way the world is the way I look at it. And we have all walked different paths, and if my photos are something that people can attach themselves to, and really appreciate and get a FEELING out of them–

Nina – Do you enjoy that there is this sort of ubiquitous connection between Toronto photographers?

Nick – Yeah!

Nina – There’s sort of a connected community there.

Nick – Totally. There is. I mean, there’s a lot of really good people out there shooting. Sometimes there’s a lot of ego, but when you strip it down, there are some really good people in the photography community in Toronto, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of them, and MORE as time goes on of course. Instagram has actually been a big one for me. Instagram has connected me with SO many Toronto photographers. It’s crazy. I’m going out this Saturday with four photographers I meet at a shoot for a clothing company that I got in contact with because they started liking my photos, and gave me a bunch of stuff to shoot people in. Instagram is a great tool. A picture speaks a thousand words. I mean, that’s more than I can fit in a Twitter 140 character limitation. Twitter doesn’t speak to me *laughs*. But Instagram does. Instagram is my twitter.

Nina – So here is the golden question: What is most rewarding about your craft?

Nick – The power that an image can have. That’s huge. It can invoke such a wide, wide, wide range of emotions. If a photo is personal, it can bring back so many memories, good and bad. To a person knowing the situation regarding a photo, and have a tie to the image, or even people who never had any connection with anybody in the image, or the situation…. I’ve lost a lot of friends in my life. I’ve been grateful to have been able to photograph a bunch of the friends that I’ve lost. After they pass, you know, it sounds really terrible to say it, but people don’t really learn the value of images of people until they’re dead. And it’s that sort of thing, you know… to see friends, family, loved ones… you use your images as an anchor. It’s something that can be grounding, and bring back good memories. It’s something people can come back to. I mean, that is incredible…. Wow…. I’m at a loss for words now even thinking about it… you know, images like that are better than any magazine spread, better than any paycheque…. It’s like that joke meme that goes, “I’m a photographer: My superpower is I make people immortal.” That whole thing really rings true when the sad things happen. And, of course, the GOOD things. I tell people “I’m going shoot you right now, you know. You’re never going to age. This place is never going to change in this photo. I’m going to capture this moment, and we are going to come back to it always.” Everything is going to stay the exact same. I’m able to capture, for a lot of people, including myself, a lot of emotion. The ability to be able to lock that down for people and give them that-

Nina – To take a finite moment and make it infinite…

Nick – Yes, I take seconds and I push them out for eternity. Not even seconds…. One two-hundredths of a second. One one-thousandth of a second! That power is just unreal. It pays the soul, which is most important. Its stuff like that that makes me keep doing what I do.

wons.ca